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Dillinger 07-26-2010 03:16 PM

The AR Build: Did You & Your Thoughts
Okay, so this came up off hand in a question thread about building vs. buying an AR platform.

As many of you know, I personally encourage everyone to build at least the lower of their AR platform. I feel it is essential for you to understand how the weapon works, what parts do what and give you a nice base for cleaning and tuning.

Several members stand shoulder to shoulder with me in this advice and I feel that FTF is a very PRO build versus buy community.

Having fielded questions on about 1,000 builds since my joining the site and posting about how easy it is to do ( okay, that might be a slight
exaggeration :cool:) it came about that we should have a poll about this issue.

So, here is your chance to sound off and be heard.

Did you build your own? How do you feel it went? How comfortable are you with your skills if you have built?

Speak up folks, we have hundreds, if not thousands, of "viewers/visitors" a day here at FTF & you can bet some of them are wondering about this very issue.


BigSe63xy 07-26-2010 03:33 PM

There needs to be one more option. It needs to be, "I'm going to build my own in the future. Wish me luck."

That's where I fit in.

mjkeat 07-26-2010 04:40 PM

I am very happy with my build. I have done a complete assembly, assembled a lower then topped it off with a complete upper I purchased and purchased a complete AR. Basicly I have every option covered. I am proud of all 3. But I will say the complete build wasa great learning experience. The biggest advise IMO is to take your time and get the proper tools to avoid breakage and blemishes.

dog2000tj 07-26-2010 06:06 PM

I assembled 2 AR15 lowers - then purchased 1 complete upper and had 1 custom built. I have 1 AR15 lower sitting on the side awaiting a project idea and I also purchased a complete AR10. Now I have an inkling to build myself another AR10. ;)

I am very happy with the route that I went - all of the info here on the forum, plus the advice and encouragement I received was excellent. I have a better understanding of the firearms and much less trepidation about working on them. I can't say that I had any difficulties at all and had a great time doing it.


Quentin 07-26-2010 06:41 PM

Great poll, JD! I think this will be very helpful to new people and I've never seen this done before at other sites.

I answered "I built my own lower, bought an upper & am happy I did."

When I decided I really wanted an AR a couple years ago I was ready to buy one off the rack though not knowing much about them. Fortunately I fought the impulse to buy at that time and began researching - which of course added more questions that I had to answer and I had to answer these questions myself to really understand which took a lot of time. When more knowledgeable folks made recommendations I had to decipher what they were saying and whether the advice was sound. But the time invested was worth it and I finally realized I needed to understand and choose every part that went into the rifle, otherwise many of them may have to be replaced. "Building" really starts to look good at that time.

I think you're 100% right that building a lower is a wise thing to do, you get up to speed on the operation of the rifle much quicker and can maintain it better - and you end up with parts of your choosing in the lower. Though I didn't build the upper I do know what parts went in it and I would have chosen similar parts if I had built it. Since I could only justify one AR it didn't make sense to invest in the tools needed for the upper - but one lower can be built using common tools many of us already have.

Anyway choosing the right AR for yourself comes down to research, asking the right questions and getting the right answers then taking the time to understand it all. Fortunately getting up to speed enough to build a lower doesn't take much time and speeds up the learning process for the upper and sights and other accessories.

ETA: Well so far the happy with my build votes lead unhappy 5-0! A good sign for anyone contemplating a build. And I suspect the unhappys will often be for "I bought my whole gun complete and am not happy with it" - also a positive for building. It will be interesting to see many, many more votes but I suspect the trend will be happy with my build and with most unhappys for a complete rifle (that may not have been researched adequately).

TheDaggle 07-26-2010 06:49 PM

Built my lower, bought my upper complete, then starting making modifications to the upper :). I definitely advocate building as much as possible for all the reasons stated above. With the FTF build guides, and the individual advice here, and the inherent simplicity of Mr. Stoner's design, a member really can't go wrong. If mine fires, anyone can do this :D

NitroxAZ 07-26-2010 11:52 PM

I built mine complete. It is easy if you have basic handyman type skills. One thing that would have helped as a sticky is a list of parts to make sure you have everything. I figured it out but it would be a nice reference for those that are building one complete. It has been awhile since I finished mine and am not sure I remember all of the parts and pieces and some of their names:eek:

lonyaeger 07-27-2010 12:10 AM

Built my own lower, bought the upper, very glad I did, thanks to guys like JD and slo guiding me through. Wouldn't have done it any other way, except maybe putting together the upper myself. Maybe next time on a bitchin' .458 Socom like Cane's.

canebrake 07-27-2010 12:26 AM

I bought my first AR, loved it but knew nothing about it. I was intimated with how it worked and had little knowledge with the nomenclature of the parts and pieces.

Then I decided I wanted a second AR, one with a little more umph. I bought the complete upper and used the local talent to assist me in building my lower.

Best thing I have done sense becoming an 'ole dog. I know my AR's inside and out now. I'm also not afraid of jams and misfires. I know the action and even know the part names! See even an 'ole dog can learn new tricks.

I highly recommend if an AR is in your future, at minimum, consider building the lower. It's cathartic.

WDB 07-27-2010 02:33 AM

I have 2 1/2 AR's the two I purchased, the 1/2 I'm building complete. As much as I like and believe I know about the platform I expect building one bottom up will make me truly appreciate the rife. I'm not building anything special, keeping it simple for my first build. I'm truly enjoying the build, I've completed the lower and starting to work on the upper, another two weeks I'll have an AR that will be truly mine as I will have put every peice together.

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